Engaging Cambodian youths in clean energy sector through the internship program

Published: Mar 6, 2024 Reading time: 6 minutes
Engaging Cambodian youths in clean energy sector through the internship program
© Foto: PIN Cambodia

Our world is currently having a defining moment as global energy has become an alarming issue. This requires involvement from various actors. Youth – amongst all, is one of the leading groups who act to create greater awareness on this issue. It is vital that youths, as a future generation, can incorporate the term ‘green’ into their mindsets and have their voice heard further with our support as the backbone.

With a program called ‘Clean Energy Internship’, initiated by EnergyLab Cambodia, the youths are given opportunities to receive training on both soft and hard skills, and join various clean energy companies. No strict criterion is set for the applicants, except for obtaining high commitment in clean energy promotion.

From the very last phase, students from all sorts of backgrounds joined the program, from Business Management, Community Development, Accounting and Finance, Environmental Science to Engineering. This drew a wide pool of talent into the sector and allowed a growing number of qualified youths who are ready to work in this particular sector. Different internship posts were opened such as Digital Marketing, Solar Engineering, Community Development Representative, Sale Representative, Project Management, to name a few, which indicates how diverse the program is and encourages participation from all despite their backgrounds. Simply means, in tackling energy issues, everyone’s participation matters.

Concrete experiences sharing from the interns

Thatt Iengmonor is a recent graduate from Community Development Major at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). Monor started his internship journey during his final semester with Eco Green Energy (EGE) Cambodia for a good 3 months. He started from scratch and worked his way up to a full-time project coordinator for the whole company’s projects. EGE mainly imports solar technologies, provides installation, and consultation services on solar energy consumption to local communities

Monor’s background involves natural resource management, economic and community development, and organizing social enterprise projects. Though the role of the Agricultural Development Representative seems overly technical for Monor, he considers it as a learning opportunity. His responsibility involves conducting studies on the demand and cost of energy needs for farmers from small to a larger scale farming, studying the elements and power capacities of the solar technologies, and measuring the energy capacity needs for a certain farm size.

Throughout the internship journey, Monor is grateful for the communication skills he has excelled in.

"Building network with communities and communicating with relevant stakeholders have helpd me negotiate better and more effectively with clients from various backgrounds, from factories, enterprise to higher-up levels. Working in this sector is not simple. We need to know how to talk to people in a persuasive way," says Monor.

At school, theory-based knowledge could not give him a clear picture of clean energy. After this internship, he gained a deeper understanding on clean energy and technologies, and customers’ demand for clean technologies, mainly solar-based products. More interestingly, Monor has got chances to visit actual farms and witness clearly that solar technologies indeed offer back a huge return for farmers. ‘It helps farmers save energy consumption and increase their daily income. This also helps promote the use of clean energy at a wider scale’, he adds.

Among the 13 peer members is Sovanmony Tea who worked as a Digital Marketing Intern at Oyika, a Japanese company supplying electric vehicle and battery swap services. Upon her internship period, Mony was still a senior student majoring in Global Affairs at the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP). Minoring in Economics, Mony’s goal is to have an extensive insight on challenges of the clean energy market in Cambodia. Even with the least relevant background in the clean energy sector, Mony’s potential is not any less, especially her potential, and commitment to the Digital Marketing field she chose.

Mony finds this field very interesting and highly effective in promoting green technology awareness.

Our world has been going digital, and social media content is another form of message that we can effectively deliver to our target. "Before the program, I only used social media for personal reasons, bit after joining this program, I understand that we can actually use social media for good," Mony express brightly. 

As a digital marketer at Oyika, her main role includes raising awareness on green mobility through content creation. ‘I am glad to be able to help people understand in a simpler way about green vehicles through the content I created,’ says Mony.

Through this internship program, EnergyLab provided many training and mentorship on communications, networking, and time and task management, which are ideal for college students and fresh graduates. Mony expresses, ‘while working at the company, I did not just assist the work; instead, I was given the chance to take initiative on digital marketing works. I was nervous that I could not do well as I am inexperienced; yet I was nervous for nothing. My ideas were accepted and appreciated by the team, and that pushed me to try harder in this role’.

Mony thinks that youths’ involvement in this sector is crucial, as she thinks that the commitment, no matter how big or small, it means something. Youths’ voice matters in society. Hence, having more youths understand climate change, the issue can be voiced louder to everyone in society.

Mony said she’s ‘glad’ when asked about how she felt about the internship. ‘It’s glad in a way that it offers you learning experiences, yet there were some pains as well. But without pain, of course, there’s no gain. At the end of the day, it’s a fruitful journey, and I highly appreciate this chance offered by EnergyLab,’ Mony shares appreciatively.

Meanwhile, Monor says, ‘I think of the term capacity building. It teaches youths to be qualified enough and get ready for their career prospects’.

As for future plans, Mony wants to pursue her Master Degree in SDG’s related specialties, and if possible, working in Digital Marketing field, but in broader work scope. Her goal is to manage bigger projects and work in a more diversified team. Both would like to call for all youths to be involved in clean energy promotion. More or less, it’s the impact that matter.

About the Internship Program and the SWITCH to Solar project

This ‘Clean Energy Internship’ is initiated and implemented by EnergyLab to provide a clearer career prospect for specifically senior college students and fresh graduates. Mainly, to give them opportunities to work in clean energy-based companies. This program ensures that youths can explore themselves deeper within the sector, and be a ready workforce once completed the assignment.

This program is co-funded by the EU-SWITCH Asia Programme granted project – SWITCH to Solar. The project is implemented across the Tonle Sap Region in Cambodia, having People in Need, EnergyLab Cambodia, and Sevea Consulting as the leading implementers. This project aims to support MSMEs in the target region to switch to using solar-based technologies with the purpose of promoting clean energy and fostering green employment in the agri-fisheries sector.

Autor: Sophika Kun, Communication Officer

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